Georgia state psychiatric hospital clinical director John M. Rowles fined, disciplined for failure to oversee 15-year-old patient’s care

July 9, 2009

The Georgia Composite Medical Board disciplined psychiatrist John Mark Rowles for failure to carry out his duties and responsibilities in his role as the Clinical Director of a state psychiatric facility, relative to the treatment of one 15-year-old mentally retarded and autistic patient.  According to the Board’s Order, Rowles was the Clinical Director of the Georgia Regional Hospital in early 2006, when the patient was admitted in an agitated state.  Over a two-week period, the patient’s condition deteriorated significantly.  Medical records reflect that the patient had minimal food and fluid intake, which was met with increasing doses of antipsychotic medication and the addition of an antidepressant/antianxiety drug.  The patient was soon after transferred to another hospital for a medical intervention, at which time he was found by Emergency Medical personnel to be severely dehydrated and suffering from “extreme possible neglect/abuse.”  Ultimately, the patient was found to have kidney and liver failure, malnutrition and septic shock, among other conditions. The psychiatrist assigned to the patient’s care was disciplined by the Board on May 9, 2008 but the Board reviewer who reviewed the patient’s treatment and found the treating psychiatrist to have departed from the standard of care also reviewed Rowles’ role as Clinical Director and found that he failed in his responsibilities to “review patients’ clinical records to ensure that care and treatment provided were consistent with established standards” and to “oversee medical treatment programs and maintain standards; and make regular rounds to observe professional services and to ensure compliance…” Rowles was fined $2,500; ordered to pay administrative costs of $590 and required to obtain 20 hours Board-approved continuing medical education in the area of administrative medicine or medical ethics.

(Public Consent Order, In the Matter of John Mark Rowles, M.D., License No. 39927, Before the Georgia Composite Medical Board, Docket No. 2010006, July 9, 2009.)


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